Uncommonly Coastal


We agree – Galveston’s beaches might not be postcard perfect, but let me tell you, the food?  Unbeatable. And how do I know? Luckily, we are close enough to frequent the island on a whim.  Nothing pleases this foodie more than steering others to the best spots. They’ll become your favorites, too.  So, we’ve made this food guide to Galveston for you to make the most of your next island visit. You can thank me later.

Food Guide to Galveston           


Very near the top of the list for a delicious dinner is the relaxed atmosphere of The Saltwater Grill. It is located in the heart of downtown across from the Opera House. Numerous “Diner’s Choice” and “Restaurant of the Year” Awards are displayed on the wall over large, comfortable booths.  

When you arrive, you’ll likely notice the “kettles” featuring local favorite items such as gumbo, Cioppino, and Bouillabaisse. These are placed in front of the kitchen and will start making your mouth water immediately. 



Do you also find it difficult to narrow it down to 1 or 2 appetizers? Here’s a simple solution:  Try 3 or 4!  That’s what we did on our last visit – Yum!  It is a good-sized menu, so ask for Taylor if you need recommendations. She’s friendly and knowledgeable.

Our Saltwater Grill favorites are the BBQ bacon-wrapped shrimp served over creamy cheese grits with andouille and sweet corn spicy creole butter. Fantastic.

Another favorite is the shrimp and crawfish fondue served in a cream sauce and baked with pepper jack and cheddar cheese. This delish dish is nearly a meal by itself!

Food Guide to Galveston


Without hesitation, we recommend the jumbo lump crab cake. It is a 10 oz. cake placed on blackened Lemon Beurre Blanc. (Without a doubt, this one gets our vote for the best we’ve ever eaten.)

It’s just as hard to choose your entree here. The Chilean Sea Bass with Jumbo Crab comes highly recommended. Many diners will stop once they see the Giant Shrimp and Grits option on the menu.  And if you make it past those, you’ll see the Almond Coconut Crusted Salmon topped with Peanut Curry Sauce. 

For those who prefer naked seafood, there’s Atlantic Salmon, Grouper, Scallops, and more.                               


The Saltwater Grill is one place where you really want to save room for dessert. The Italian Cream Cake is amazing.

Food Guide to Galveston       Food Guide to Galveston


It’s always a good sign when you see photos of celebrities with the restaurant’s owner on the walls of an establishment. As you enter Rudy & Paco on the corner of Post Office, you will see hundreds of smiling faces with autographs adorning the entryway. It’s a beautiful bar and intimate dining room. There is a dress code for dinner, but thankfully, it doesn’t feel “stuffy.” Note that reservations are recommended.


First, Owner Paco Vargas himself graciously welcomed us personally at our table and served complementary plantain chips with two different sauces. One is his own creation called “Pico de Paco” and it was delicious. The other option was chimichurri sauce, also great to pair with the chips.

You might get a good story from Paco if there’s time. We learned that Rudy of Rudy and Paco has passed away, but his menu items and success keep his memory alive. 


You can never regret starting with their Ensalada de Lechuga Fresca. If you’re a fan, this may just be your favorite ever.

Because you are on an island, you may feel like seafood is the way to go and here, you won’t be disappointed. However, a steak can remain high on your list as well, as they’re prepared with a South and Central American flair.  



Rudy & Paco’s grilled salmon topped with mango habanero sauce was one of our favorites. My favorite was the Pollo Empanizado,  a large chicken breast with plantain crust, served over black bean sauce and drizzled with cheese, sweet plantains, yucca, and sour cream. The family atmosphere makes this the perfect spot for special occasions also.    

           Food Guide to Galveston     Food Guide to Galveston


Across the street you’ll find Paco’s newer family venture called Vargas Cut & Catch. Managed by his daughter, Denise, this contemporary steak and seafood house is one you will definitely want to try. Reservations are highly recommended, and guests are encouraged to dress as their “elegant selves.”

It’s a lovely place with an extensive wine collection and private room for special events. Highly popular is the Chef’s Table. It’s seating for four in front of the open kitchen for those of us who love to see and smell the food as it is prepared. Plan ahead and reserve this spot!

Food Guide to Galveston


With so many more restaurant choices, make sure you find your way to this one, Sugar & Rye. It is a food guide to Galveston essential!

A beautiful light and airy dining room, there’s not a bad seat in the house. And the menu is the same – ideal. It includes lemon blueberry pancakes, chicken and waffles – tasty standards.


 If you aren’t feeling like a traditional breakfast, try their Warm Goat Cheese Salad with black berries, figs, candied pecans, and a black berry vinaigrette. Sensational.

Understandably popular are the flatbreads. Our favorite was the First Date” flatbread with four cheeses, sliced dates, prosciutto, red onion, with a Balsamic and Spicy Honey Drizzle. It’s large and it’s delicious…and certainly worth writing about!

           Food Guide to Galveston


The Sugar & Rye decor is lovely.  On one end in front of the windows, there are two huge white feathery light fixtures – so beautiful and unique. The rest of the ceiling lights were large gold leaves, shining against the gorgeous dark wood bar area with gold accents. Leafy green wallpaper adds to the inviting atmosphere. You won’t be surprised to learn that Emily, the owner, is an interior designer with a shop right across the street. Emily’s is filled with exquisite artwork, rugs, and coastal decor items.     Food Guide to Galveston


It turns out, the café is named for Sugar, Emily’s father, and Rye, another relative. Don’t miss that seeing Theodore, the moose, an 83-year-old family member, who is always there.

             Food Guide to Galveston


There’s more to Sugar & Rye than just a beautiful setting and fabulous food. Sugar’s Inn, an 1840 renovated building, is a boutique hotel located above the restaurant. Talk about the perfect location for your next visit to the Island!

            Food Guide to Galveston     


Kritikos Grill is tucked in a strip center directly across from the seawall. A quaint family-run restaurant, they are eager to please and make suggestions, too. We started with the flavorful hummus, delivered on a large platter with mounds of cucumbers, carrots, and pita bread.

We also ordered a grilled chicken pita with tzatziki. Served with perfect sweet potato fries and everything arrived nice and hot. 



If you like an eclectic menu for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner, visit The Mosquito Cafe. Dine inside or on their patio, but like many Galveston eateries, they are closed on Monday.

 Some of our recommendations are the breakfast bowl and the Shrimp, Grits, and Eggs. The Mosquito Benedict is the top of our list.  Other specialties include Pecan Crusted Brie, several creamy pasta dishes, or the “Veggie Portabella Shroom.”

Because its menu is so full – plus its ideal location – you may end up eating here more than once on your trip.  Not a problem! 

Food Guide to Galveston


The Spot which makes the list for several reasons. This family-friendly spot is the original location – directly across the street from the Seawall and offers outdoor seating for the sights and sounds of the Gulf.  Their burgers and hand-dipped onion rings are favorites to locals and visitors alike.  Local seafood options are also popular. Many guests stop by for the yummy hand-spun milkshakes and malts. Beer and some popular beach cocktails like Rum Punch and Mai Tai’s are also big hits especially during the hot summers.

 Four additional Spots include:

The Tiki Bar – Known for their 29” draft beer and beach cocktails.

Sideyard – Texas Craft Beers, thirst-quenching drinks such as “A Perfect Pear” and “The Pineapple Express” and Backyard Bites.

RumshackFeaturing more than 50 rum selections.

SqueezeKnown for ‘Ritas and Tequilas.

        Food Guide to Galveston


Star Drug Store, the oldest drug store in all of Texas, is a real step back in time. Built with wood in 1886, converted to brick in 1909, and a horseshoe shaped soda fountain counter was added in 1917. Sadly, a severe fire in 1998 closed the pharmacy indefinitely. Thankfully, in 2001, it was purchased and restored. Even Hurricane Ike in 2008 which delivered nearly 7 feet of water inside couldn’t close this landmark. You can even stay in one of the 2 lofts upstairs!

The Brunch menu includes traditional items like omelets and eggs benedict, as well as grilled sandwiches such as a Reuben, Philly Cheesesteak, and a Kicked-up Tuna sandwich.  These items can be ordered to-go.

The soda fountain boasts a dessert of the day, ice cream floats, banana splits, and much more. This is a must in our opinion!


Another Galveston institution is Sonny’s Place. Their chicken fried steak sandwich and mouth-watering muffuletta bring in locals of all ages.

It opened in 1944 and has been filled with “regulars” ever since. While it’s not a fancy place, the food is always good.

Miller’s Seawall Grill starts with traditional breakfast, offers gumbo and full lunch fare, and dinner brings fresh seafood or juicy steaks. Miller’s has become a favorite for locals and visitors alike. Try the Chocolate Pecan Brownie or their Key Lime Pie for the sweet ending.



No Galveston dining guide would be complete without mentioning Gaido’s.  Locals will tell you it’s been around forever (since 1911) and it remains one of the island’s most popular dining options. Some things have remained the same for all these years: The nautical themed decor, fresh seafood, and good service.


Mario’s Seawall was voted Restaurant of the Year 2021 and Best Italian and Best Chef in 2022. Known for their “Texas size seaside view” and authentic pastas and pizza, it is Galveston’s oldest Italian restaurant. Our suggestion would be the Bacon Spinach Tortellini.

Food Guide to Galveston     


At Maceo Spice & Import Co., the menu changes frequently, but apparently the weekend menu includes the “all time faves.”  Choose the Shrimp Salad or the intriguing Cajun Trio. The trio contains a cup of shrimp and crab gumbo, red beans and rice, and crawfish etouffee. Hungry yet?

In addition to the café, there’s a shop offering quality meats, cheeses, pastas, and spices. No wonder local chefs frequent the shop since they have any imported meat or cheese one could possibly desire. Also, they carry specialty foods, Italian desserts, olive oils, vinegars, pastas, and of course, herbs and spices.


Finally, we want to include The Grotto in Galveston, located in the beautiful San Luis Resort. It’s a beautiful restaurant off the main lobby of this gorgeous resort. If you aren’t familiar with their menu, it’s fabulous. Try their Southern Italian house made pasta, scrumptious seafood items like Salmon Brioso or Snapper Romano.

Definitely an upscale choice, The Grotto is well known for outstanding Italian cuisine but also impeccable service.

Food Guide to Galveston

Truly, there are so many wonderful dining options on the island that it can be overwhelming.  We trust this foodie’s guide to Galveston will make your next getaway memorable. 

2 Responses

  1. Loved this one! Passed it on to a friend who has a house on the bay in Galveston. They love to check out new places!

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